The Brother and the lads in his digs emerged from their lair recently to annoy me.
There was an ill-mannered rat-a-tat-tat on my front door. I knew it was either the Brother or Doug Ford because my cat Rita, snugly ensconced on the windowsill and peering out, took off like a rocket. Rita can’t stand Ford. If the Ontario Premier appears on TV, she exits the room with lightning speed, the dislike evident in her growling as she heads straight to the litter box.
I opened the door to find on the porch not Ford in his boxy suit and fake smile, but the Brother and three lazy-looking louts named Gerrit, Gavin and Dave.
“There we are now, all the lads,” the Brother announced with the gnomic succinctness for which he is renowned in taverns at the western fringes of the Greater Toronto Area. I asked what business he had with me.
“It’s about your year-end list, the one about most-irritating Canadians,“ he said. I said nothing. “You are rightly celebrated for it,” he continued in an ill-advised attempt at flattery.
The lad known as Dave contorted his face into a loose imitation of cheery obsequiousness. “Compliments of the season,” he lied. “Any chance of a drink?”
Rita was glaring from the top of the stairs. She hissed. As I went to reassure her, the Brother and the lads took advantage of my distraction to invade the house. Before I knew it, they were at the kitchen table consuming a bottle of peppermint schnapps that the Brother happened to have on his person, as usual. I glared. Rita glared.
“We have money on the persons who will make your list!” Gerrit barked. “A wager!”
With silence, I bought time. “With whom is this wager?” I asked eventually, hoping my grammatical correctness would confuse them.
“A man we met in a bar who said he’s high up in the CBC,” Gerrit replied. Me, I concluded this person was more likely high than high up in the CBC. “Did he buy you drinks on the CBC’s dime?” I inquired. Four heads nodded “Yes.” I offered the opinion that, sadly, CBC had spent its money on worse entertainment projects. Four heads nodded “Yes.”
To cancel the alleged wager, and in the spirit of the season, I offered to buy a large bottle of peppermint schnapps as a Christmas gift for these lazy louts. This offer was accepted. “Well then,” I said, “Let’s get to work on this list.”
“Who is irritating, TV-related?” I asked the gathering. “It takes one to know one,” the Brother replied. Aw, family.
I drank cold water and Rita glared while the following was composed.
10: This Hour has 22 Minutes. It’s cute they think they’re still relevant and funny.
9: CTV executives. The ones who decided it was best to have it announced on-air that a show is “streaming.” Groan-inducing. On TV, any variation on “Thursdays at 9” will do just fine.
8: CBC executives. The ones who cancelled live-TV coverage on Ontario municipal election night, airing Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries instead. Giving new and mind-boggling meaning to the phrase, “Your tax dollars at work.”
7: Jagmeet Singh. As twentysomethings say, “Adulting is hard.” Being an adult is the single greatest challenge for this guy. Always seems as if he hasn’t even finished his homework assignment.
6: Holmes + Holmes. I’d rather bang my head on a butcher-block countertop than watch another second of the phoniest daddy-issues, home-renovation and son-butts-head-with-father concoction. Dysfunctional families are timeless and entertaining, but phony-baloney bickering isn’t.
5: Andrew Scheer. Elf on the Shelf.
4: Evanka Osmak and Ken Reid of Sportsnet Central. The show is passable but the promos they do, in which they both imitate the Sportsnet voiceover guy, are migraine-inducing.
3: Mélanie Joly. More than two years of bafflegab as Heritage Minister maxed out with a baffling deal with Netflix, one that pleased only Netflix and had no guaranteed financing for French-language content. Never has a cash injection seemed so much like a swindle.
2: Patrick Brown. The year began with his ugly and undignified press conference denying allegations of sexual misconduct and then immediately running away from the news media. It set the tone for the whole year. Then he kept coming back until he was eventually elected Mayor of Brampton, a place that, admittedly, has more citizens than most CBC productions have viewers.
1: Doug Ford. What show does this guy think he’s starring in? It isn’t Law & Order. More likely The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire: Industrial-strength Male Posturing; an adipose, surly (and terrible on TV) boss, using the all-time audience-insulting catchphrase “For the people.” Hypocrisy at a thermonuclear level. Folks, this show will run for four seasons.